LeWeb3 Fallout. As A Speaker, I’m Not Happy

I was a speaker at LeWeb3, from which I have just returned. As the conference opened, I was on a panel with three others, for a 30 minute session, where I would talk about Combat Cards (the collectible card game for Second Life) so was looking forward to giving a ten minute presentation. With only a single stream running, i reckoned this would be to 600 or so people (out of the 1000 attendees).

Unfortunatly Loic Le Meur, the organiser, put paid to that and canceled my session for another ‘surprise speaker.’ By deciding (for whatever reasons) to provide a platform to the ex-Israeli Prime Minister Shimon Perezm and French Presidential candidates Nikolas Sarkozy and François Bayrou, Le Web 3 was turned into a political rally, all the attendees and sponsors will now be used to provide legitimacy for the candidates views, a good number of speakers have not been able to put on a great show, and the general feeling from attendees is as close to a lynch mob that the blogosphere can muster.

Luckily a number of speakers managed to shuffle themselves around and squeeze me onto another panel, so a big thank you to Jonas Luster and Jeff Clavier for moving me into ‘The Future of Gaming” panel (which, to be honest, was more appropriate than “When Will Virtual Life be Better Than Our Real Life?“). Even with the few minutes that I had, I managed to get something memorable in. By combining my available time with Jonas, we managed to rattle through Combat Cards in SL, why World of Warcraft has such a huge community, and have an RL Sword Fight on stage on show that sometimes the virtual gaming ideals cannot trannslate safely into the modern world.

Thankfully we still seemed to have made an impact, as we had a good number of people appraoch us after the talk with questions on gmaing, SL, WoW and virtual reality games and worlds. Jonas on stage had made a brief comment to the effect of ‘everyone is different, for example I don’t like French politicians,” which provoked one of the loudest positive reactions from the audience that day. Perhaps Le Meur should have picked up on this rather than his one over-riding concern of getting his friends on stage to further their (his?) political ambitions?

Le Meur’s closing comments of “I wanted to take risks” and “I would do it again” are appauling. To take the conference so far away from what every delegate assumed it to be, into a way for Loic to place his political friends in front of the technological elite of Europe (and you can bet that this is the angle the news and Spin Doctors will take) is in my opinion shameful, disrespectful and dishonest. I had to really work to raise enough of a budget to get to this event, so close to Christmas (to the point of staying in a six bed dorm at the nearby Youth Hostel). Flights into Paris from Edinburgh are not cheap, and I’m out the best part of £200 overall. Add on top of that 400 Euros for the conference ticket that others paid, and it’s an expensive event.

Le Meur’s chosen candidate for the French Presidental race will not forget Le Meur’s contribution to his press. Le Meur’s accquaintances on the World Economic Forum will not forget Le Meur’s contribution to their visibility. The French TV and media will not forget Le Meur’s ability to provide them a story… to the detriment of the paying crowd behind the cameras wondering what the frak happened to their conference about the Web.

The blogosphere will not forget Le Meur’s handling of Le Web 3
.

I wonder what the sponsors think? Six Apart, Vox, Orange and Tech Crunch where the headline sponsors, joined by Google, Nokia, Fon, Microsoft Windows Live, NetVibes, VPod TV as the major sponsors, and Guidewire Group, Advent Venture Partners, Partech International, SMSConnecnt/Echovox, Sky-click and Wengo were below the line sponors. I am now going to take time today to write a traditional physical letter to ask them if they are happy to have their company and products associated with a political hijacking.

If you were at Le Web 3, or are supporters of the above companies, perhaps you might consider doing the same?

[Added 14th Dec]: My co-panellist Jonas Luster has posted his comments on the organisation of Le Web 3, with a number of comments regarding he timing, political diaries, what the Israeli presence will have contributed to our secret service dossiers, and the one-nation view of the politicians compared to the Hallway Track…

27 Responses to “LeWeb3 Fallout. As A Speaker, I’m Not Happy”

  1. Gonzague says:

    I highly share your opinion about the “political rally”

    It was a bad idea from Loïc

  2. [...] At least it created a furios scotsman: Ewan didn’t like it at all, it seems: “Unfortunatly Loic Le Muir, the organiser, put paid to that and canceled my session for another ’surprise speaker.’ By deciding (for whatever reasons) to provide a platform to the ex-Israeli Prime Minister Shimon Perezm and French Presidential candidates Nikolas Sarkozy and François Bayrou, Le Web 3 was turned into a political rally, all the attendees and sponsors will now be used to provide legitimacy for the candidates views, a good number of speakers have not been able to put on a great show, and the general feeling from attendees is as close to a lynch mob that the blogosphere can muster.” [...]

  3. madjid says:

    It’s Loïc Le Meur

    And I agree. He’s finished.

  4. OLIVIER says:

    Are you talking about Loic LE MEUR ? :-) ’cause We know no Lemuir :-)

  5. Tom Raftery says:

    Thanks for the link Ewan.

    I spoke to both Nokia and Netvibes about how their brand had been tarnished by being associated with the hijacking. Neither was very happy but they wouldn’t go on the record about it either!

  6. C.C. Chapman says:

    Just catching up on all of this on different blogs. Talk about a weak ass way to handle things. Guess I can add this conference to one that I’ve got no interest in ever attending.

  7. I recal that some of the loudest applause of yesterday afternoon came during your panel when Jonas mentioned that you weren’t that interested in hearing from French politicians.

  8. Cheer and Loathing at Le Web 3

    Cedric and I just got back from Loïc Lemeur’s Le Web 3 conference, which turned out to be far more emotional and controversial than I would have expected. The conference itself suffered to some degree from the same phenomenon that, by many accou…

  9. G. Cardon says:

    As a french participant I totally agree with you Ewan. Even though I like M. Perez intervention, the two other were jokes and had nothing to do there.

    Another thing did hit my head. If M. Sarkozy’s comming was not something they planned, how come they had earsets ready for him and him only, I still wonder. For me it has been planned and the other venues were just ways to justify Sarkozy’s unwanted presence.

    Thanks also Ewan for answering my questions on SL’s land and money.

  10. Le Web 3: Round the Blogs

    Anthony Mayfield, who was great company during the Le Web 3, has posted his measured reactions to what happened. Nicole Simon singles out Orange for criticism about the WiFi in the hall. I’d like to go further than that, because not only did their Wi…

  11. Ewan says:

    Majid, Oliver, thanks for the correct spelling – now edited in main article.

  12. Julio Alonso says:

    Ewan,

    Share your feelings. BTW, your show with Jonas was among the few high moments in the conference.

  13. [...] A big web conference turned into a political rally, totally robbing the attendees and speakers of what they came for. [...]

  14. [...] LeWeb3 Fallout, de cómo el evento se ha convertido en un método de auto-promoción para Loic LeMeur en altas esferas. Al parecer es una opinión generalizada: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. Mariano Amartino también escribe del tema. [...]

  15. Ivan Pope says:

    Wow, now I know who you crazy guys were. You were brilliant, esp. that swordfight. And you’re right – you were treated apallingly. But that’s alright I guess. You should have taken your gamers licence and clocked Loic one.

  16. Fenn Shui says:

    Le Web 3 and Loic Le Meur

    So, I’m back in London from Le Web 3, the conference organised by Loic Le Meur, Executive VP and Managing Director of Six Apart Europe. Le Web 3 is being heavily discussed in the blogosphere at the moment (see Technorati…

  17. [...] Read Ewan’s and Nicole’s thoughs on it all. [...]

  18. [...] 1) The French politicians who used our event for their campaigns.  [...]

  19. [...] There were many other speakers and panels worth mentioning. Dannah Boyd is always spot-on when she presents. She did a very informative talk on younger web 2.0 users. Dogster investor Jeff Clavier led an interesting panel on whether or not there is another bubble. The panel included Dogster friend David Hornik (August), Techcrunch’s Ouriel Ohayon and VC super star Danny Rimer. Other names that stand out from the whirlwind two days are Marko Ahtisaari, Jonas Luster, Ewan Spence, Scott Rafer, Yossi Vardi, Tariq Krim, Reid Hoffman, and Gil Penchina. I wish I had more time to write in detail about the different subjects and the inspiration borne from them, but with a full email inbox, an office move today, our holiday party and jet lag – that will have to wait. [...]

  20. [...] Last week there was a huge kerfuffle among the blogs over an event in Pairs called LeWeb3. The problem fell in two parts. This week one was resolved – brilliantly. LoicLeMeur, responding to an avalanche of critics, assembled a brilliant response. It was a masterstroke in both PR and the establishment of credibility in the face of a critical shitstorm. I was delighted for the man. [...]

  21. [...] For all the criticism about the organization of the Le Web 3 conference, the event was a true success in capturing the momentum of the websphere, with a focus on Europe. [...]

  22. As a french participant I totally agree with you Ewan.

  23. [...] first speaking slot, subsequently moved into a different panel at short notice (see previous posts here and here), I was unhappy at the time, and time has not dulled that feeling. Le Meur’s closing [...]

  24. [...] Evan Spence, l’un des intervenants à la conférence (écossais) qui donne le point de vue de celui dont l’agenda de speaker a été bousculé. [...]

  25. [...] year, after LeWeb 3 (2006), I came back from Paris fuming (You might remember). It was pretty evident to all, including my Mum calling me after she realised just how upset I was [...]

  26. [...] it’s true. I always joke about the rant I had over Le Web 2006 – the biggest thing to come out of that was my Mum phoning me on realising just how angry I was. [...]